This is a guest article from my manager, Blair Silver.
If you’re a new Screenwriter, you may have learned the hard way that you must have representation, from either a manager or an agent.
Most production companies and studios will not read your screenplay if you don’t have someone representing you. So how do you go about getting a rep? Here are a few pointers:
You have to have a least one great polished script, preferably several to showcase your talent. Most managers and agents want to work with someone who has the potential for a sustained career, not just be a one-hit-wonder, so to speak.
Study this Industry. Read the trades, such as Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter to learn more about the players and what is going on. You may also want to subscribe to IMDb Pro (Internet Movie Database) so that you can do deeper research as well as read many informative reviews and articles.
It may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how many fledgling writers are unfamiliar with the movies in the genre they want to write for. So watch everything you can and analyze what works and what doesn’t work. Bottom line: writers should be film and TV buffs.
You can find managers and agents in industry guides, such as the Hollywood Creative Directory, Variety 411 and others credible Source Books, many of which are found at the famed Samuel French and the like online.
Study the directory listing for each Rep, taking note of how they prefer to be contacted, by email or hard copy by snail mail. It can start you on a good footing. Also note what genres, budgets and overall environments for which they are competent.
If you are contacting a rep by phone, have your pitch ready. You should practice it, just as actors practice their lines. The last thing you want to do is get a manager or agent on the phone and then stammer or sound unsure of yourself.
When you get someone on the phone, be courteous and business-like. Get to the point quickly to show that you respect their time.
Be sure to create a killer logline that will be a part of your pitch. You can learn how to create them in many books on screenwriting.
If the Manager of Agent shows interest in reading your script, deliver it to them when you say you will, but don’t expect to get a super-fast turnaround. Executives in this business are extremely busy and have people coming at them from every angle. And if you decide to send a hard copy of the script, as opposed to a PDF (e-file), be sure that you include a stamped self-addressed envelope for them to mail it back in if you want it returned. This will indicate a high level of professionalism to the rep.
Before you send your script out, register it with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and/or copyright it through the U.S. Copyright Office in order to protect your intellectual property.
Study your craft. Read books, attend workshops. Be prepared for hard work both to become a better writer and to produce more work. The Film and TV industries have no room for dilettantes.
Remember, contemporary audiences are more savvy than ever before which raises the bar for quality scripts and smart writing.
Finally, you must be patient. Don’t expect that you will become an overnight success. And hold on to your dreams, even if you experience rejection at first, because you may endure a lot of it. This is a tough business.
Though there may be a few sharks in the water, but there are also many decent, honorable people to throw you a lifeline who will help you cultivate, promote your career. You can find the right Rep if you have what it takes as a writer and persevere.
Note from DSK:
Blair Silver is the Owner/Manger of Blair Silver & Company, a Management Company that represents Screenwriters, Producers, Novelists, Actors, Models, Athletes and others in Film, TV and Professional Entertainment. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA and has been in business since 1987.